The Easiest Way To Avoid Regret

October 23rd 2014

One of my favorite things about having a blog, is teaming with fellow writers, imaginaries and straight up great people around the country that submit their stories and conversate and collaborate with me to come up with some solid things to say to you.

Such as this:

Brian‘s story & Olive’s imagination present:

Fuck this song.

It happens at the most expected times. In a car. In a store. A shuffled playlist. A party. Usually at the grocery store. God…the grocery store.

There I was.

Minding my own business. Checking items off my shopping list.

And that’s when I heard it.

The song.

Fuck this song.

It was OUR song…at least it was. With that person. That staple person in all of our lives who broke our damn hearts…only to make an impromptu comeback whilst we’re innocently shopping for zucchinis and almonds and all that dietary shit. Except peanut butter. I really want peanut butter.

Anyway.

There they are.

Your first love.

In your head.

Or maybe they weren’t the first one. Just the best one. Or the first and best of everything.

Whatever.

So I’m standing there with a pear in one hand and 7-grain bread in the other. Thinking about peanut butter but perusing through whole wheat carbs instead. Being forcefully serenaded by this damn memory trigger that I couldn’t listen to for years. The song that always took me by fucking surprise.

The Adele Effect.

The Adele Effect.

Awkwardly explaining to dates and friends that I needed to change the station.

Just as an FYI.

Just as an FYI.

 

Avoid it in movies and put a bright headband on if I heard it at a party.

Quick fix.

Quick fix.

 

Really emotional things like that. And I know, I know. It seems stupid. And childish.

But.

Can you blame me?

The whole thing ended in rejection.

And well.

Rejection really sucks.

In every way.

Whether it’s rejection from a job. The opposite sex. Friends. Or even our pets.

The struggle is real.

Silencio Carl.

And there I was.

Succumbing to through the gravitational pull of the peanut butter aisle. With jelly already in my basket. Song. Still playing. >>

When I realized.

Rejection blows.

And it hurts.

But.

Not as much as regret.

Thing is.

Getting old sucks. (Anything after college is old, right?) Hangovers worsen. Your memory fades. And at some point you’ve done enough dumb mistakes to count on your hands and feet…and probably the hands and feet of the replaceable bodies that may or may not go in >> and  << out of your bed.

 Loves get lost. Exams get failed. Not every choice is perfect. But. These aftermaths—both grand and unexpected—all stem from an ambitious, great and well-intentioned place.

Taking that chance. Trying it all out. The good old-fashioned trial and error.

And I’ll always give major kudos to that.

But there I was.

Pondering in the peanut butter aisle. That song. Still. Not. Over.

And I’m wondering.

Do I even need this peanut butter? It’s indulgent. More expensive. Bigger jar. I want it. But should I get it? Splurge? Just this once?

Wait. Hold on. I was thinking of something. What was it…oh right. This:

Here I am. Peanut butter in basket. Suddenly realizing that.

I don’t regret many things. But I do regret these:

I regret never pursuing that one particular person. Going for it. Or at least giving it a try. I regret never telling my best friend how much he damn meant to me before he left for Afghanistan. Recapping the good times. And having a good talk…just in case. (Spoiler: He came back). I regret having too many beers that one night in that one town I won’t name. But only because I promised a someone I’d be somewhere else instead. And I didn’t show up. Because I was worried I wouldn’t have fun. That I wouldn’t know anyone else there. And as it turns out,

I missed a hell of a good time.

Here’s the thing.

I barely remember the ending of that romance or really the reasons why. But I remember the ironic satisfaction I felt having cured my curiousities in that department. With them. Giving it a go. Letting it play out. Etc etc.

I sort of remember the disappointment I felt when I didn’t get this one particular job. But what I remember more than that was the frustration I felt when I didn’t apply for the amazing job I really wanted. Because “I know I won’t get it”…only to have the company tell me later down the line that…they were bummed I never applied. And that they had kept a vacancy open for me as long as possible. You know, just in case.

I kind of remember those few circumstances where my friends all wanted to go out to dinner, or a concert, or a show. But I didn’t want to spend the money. Or I didn’t want to make the effort. So I stayed in. Didn’t respond to texts. And I ordered Chinese. At least I think. I don’t really remember. But what I really remember. Is using that excuse 1? 2? 10 times? And being involved in less memories. Less pictures. And slowly but surely being less invited too.

And there I was.

Standing in the checkout line at the grocery store. C-o-u-n-t-i-n-g the items in my cart. Song. Still fucking playing.

Realizing that.

In all reality.

I felt just fine.

I didn’t regret what had happened.

Or really who it had happened with.

I gave it my best go.

And that was that.

And that the easiest way to avoid regret.

Was to fill my life. My decisions. My grocery cart. With a mix of adventure—topped with the smart.

Going for what I want. Who I want. The thing I want. Unabashedly.

While keeping my dignity, esteem and self-respect in check too.

Buying vegetables, whole grain and wholesome fruity shiza. And then throwing a giant jar of peanut butter in the cart. Because goddamn. My next 10 snacks are about to taste epically more awesome.

Taking care of friends. Relations. And jobs. Striving to keep them great. Or even make them greater.

And if slip ups, mistakes and social mishaps happen along the way?

Well then that’s human.

And you’re okay.

Because up until this point.

You’ve given it your damn best.

And that’s something you’ll never regret.

Liked this story and want to send me one too? Excellent news. Shoot me an email at olivethepeople@gmail.com. And let’s make some magic happen. Take that as you will.